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CoAS Professors Offer OCD Treatment Via Skype

By University Communications

April 11, 2011 — The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that one in four Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder, and of those more than 2.2 million people with anxiety disorders have obsessive compulsive disorder. OCD is responsible for roughly $8.4 billion per year in social and economic losses in the United States. Many professionals don’t know how to deliver highly effective, non-medication treatment, and many patients don’t have access to high-quality treatment to address their needs. But two Drexel professors have found a solution.

According Dr. James Herbert and Dr. Evan Forman, psychology professors and directors of Drexel’s Anxiety Treatment and Research Program, videoconferencing technologies can help make treatment available to people who might not otherwise have access to psychological help.

OCD Treatment Via Skype

To study the effectiveness and feasibility of videoconferencing treatment as a user- friendly and low-cost option for people seeking psychological counseling, Herbert, Forman and Drexel doctoral student Elizabeth Goetter have designed a program that treats individuals with OCD through Skype. According to the Drexel researchers, programs like Skype have the ability to revolutionize how therapy is provided, particularly in cases in which individuals need highly specialized mental health treatment, as is the case with OCD.

With the rapidly evolving nature of technology and videoconferencing, it is becoming increasingly viable for individuals with mental health concerns to see their therapist in a videoconference environment, reducing or eliminating the need to drive to a therapist’s office, according to the Drexel researchers. They are finding that these methods are not only more convenient and more cost-effective, but also make high quality mental health care services more widely available to people, regardless of geographical location.

Drexel’s Anxiety Treatment and Research Program is currently offering a free, two-month long (twice weekly) program for individuals with OCD who live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Texas, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, South Dakota, Alaska, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. More information about the study can be obtained by calling the Anxiety Treatment and Research Program at 215-553-7000.

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